Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s party, Kanu, aims to take control of the second phase of the talks on the Building Bridges Initiative report in the Rift Valley.
This comes as the outfit seeks to stamp its authority in a region at a crossroads over the next course of political action after the report was released last November.
Kanu, led by Mr Moi, was quick to express its support for the 'handshake' between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga in March 2018.
The independence party also backed the BBI team when it faced a barrage of accusations from Deputy President William Ruto and his allies for over a year.
The party now wants to be the face of the BBI in the region in a bid to fend off the DP, who has recently changed tune and welcomed the report.
Kanu’s move has already angered the DP’s allies, who claim to hold sway in Rift Valley and believe should be the ones to determine the direction the region takes in the second phase of BBI.
The emerging supremacy battle comes as Nyanza and Western leaders push for a united front on key issues in the report.
Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat said Kanu will play the leading role in the BBI talks.
“We were the first to express our total support for BBI before the other team (Ruto allies) changed their mind. We have set up a secretariat, which we expect to be ratified by the party soon. We could have adopted it in December but most of our members were on holiday. We came up with resolutions as a party, which will be looked into further by the secretariat. We want to make sure our people have read it, understood it and are ready to make wise decisions. The secretariat is to ensure the report reaches them,” Mr Salat said.
He said the resolutions would not be made public until they are adopted by the party. However, Mr Salat indicated they will push for a more powerful prime minister in a new governance structure than the ceremonial one proposed by the BBI team. The party will push for a hybrid system where both the presidency and the PM’s office share powers without clashing.
“We have Tanzania as a model and many others within the Commonwealth to learn from,” Mr Salat told the Saturday Nation.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, a close ally of the DP, while dismissing Kanu’s plans, said the fresh BBI round of talks was a waste of money, saying as a region they are satisfied with what is in the report.
“This is a total waste of money. In fact, this second round is an ODM affair. They are now asking ODM governors to use money belonging to the counties to organise useless meetings they are calling consultative talks. We will not engage in such wastage,” said the senator.
He said the focus should be on the Big 4 agenda and finding solutions to the challenges facing Kenyans.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, also Senate Majority leader, said they will not focus much on the BBI this year. “Going forward we will support whatever is brought to the table. Some thought that through BBI, they will push out some people. They thought there will be a campaign of Yes and No,” he said.
Mr Murkomen said they would not take any bait that could isolate them from what the majority of Kenyans want in terms of governance structure.
“We will be where most Kenyans will want to be. If Kenyans want an executive prime minister or not, we will be there; if the status quo remains, if it is a hybrid, if you call it a general governor, we will be there as well. We will not accept to be taken in circles with the sole intention of locking out one person,” said Mr Murkomen.
Mr Duncan Kipngeno, a political analyst, said Dr Ruto’s allies would have to regroup quickly if they want to shape the BBI conversation in the Rift region. “The Ruto group celebrated and relaxed when the initial report was released because it appeared it did not harm the DP’s ambitions. That appears to have been short-lived. They will now have to regroup to reshape the narrative as there will be other players keen to play a role in this,” added Mr Kipngeno.